Football is back and preparing for a long season


Aalia Khan

Senior Defensive Backs Jaleel Laffitte and Will Cox pose for a picture after winning the first game of the season.

Football season has started and the Baker University Wildcats have started the year after coming off a 2021 season that saw them go 9-2, 4-2 in conference play.

The Wildcats’ season started against the 16th-ranked team Culver-Stockton Wildcats on Aug. 27. Baker won this game with a score of 26-14 to start the year 1-0. Senior defensive end Marcus Johnson received the NAIA defensive player of the week as he got to the quarterback for a two-sack performance as Baker had an excellent defensive game plan holding Culver-Stockton to two touchdowns.

Then on Sept. 3, the Wildcats went to Oskaloosa, Iowa to face the William Penn Statesmen. Baker won the game by a score of 34-14 with a successful second half for the offense. The offense started slowly in the first half scoring seven points, but they scored 27 in the second half to win the game by a wide margin.

“It always feels good to start the season 2-0 and we are building day-by-day,” senior defensive end Marcus Johnson said. “We are always improving ourselves and we have a day-by-day mentality.”

Fall camp was a turning point for the team as there was a competitive nature and chemistry building in camp and practices that helped Baker get to this start. Johnson also explains that while there are things the team could work on, even after winning two in a row, there is constant improvement in the team as a whole.

“We are giving ourselves the best opportunities in games while building trust and chemistry,” junior running back Cole Fisher said. “We are getting better and better each week and there was a lot of growth after winning the game against William Penn.”

While Baker has gone 2-0 to start the year, the team is still growing as a group and things haven’t been perfected yet, as Johnson said that the “defense has some kinks in it, but we have been improving over the last two weeks.”

Fisher explained that growing as a team is needed to get a shot at both the Heart of America Conference championship and the NAIA National Championship. He also explains that Benedictine and Grand View are the games to keep an eye on this year.

Both Fisher and Johnson point out that the team is going to keep giving itself the best opportunity to win every game, whether it is in practice or adjusting in-game as they did in the game against William Penn. The growth of this team is looking to develop the next wave of Baker football while looking toward the heights of the National Championship.

“We have many talented and hard-working players on the team that makes depth our strength,” Assistant Coach Brian Boyle said. “We have the same goal we have had at Baker for 40 years; win at Liston, win the conference, and win the National Championship.”

Baker football is happy that they have the depth and great veteran leadership and that has made the hopes for this season and future seasons high for Baker. Coach Boyle has similar sentiments to what both Fisher and Johnson explain that this team is very competitive in nature and their will to continuously improve has helped them start the season well.

With week three on the horizon, the Baker Wildcats football team hopes to continue this start as they face the 2nd-ranked Grand View Vikings this Saturday, Sept. 10 at Liston Stadium.